Thursday, 17 July 2014

Howl' Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

6294Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

My thoughts

Howl's Moving Castle surprised me in so many ways. First of all I was surprised by how much I liked this book and really enjoyed it, since it's more of a children's book. But I couldn't stop reading it. I liked the writing, the characters and the magical world that DWJ has created. Then I was genuinely surprised by the story itself and how I couldn't guess all the things and basically know what would happen next. There were so many twists and turns I didn't see coming. All the secrets and mysteries were excatly that to me - mysteries. Maybe it's just me who is slow to catch on, but I really couldn't figure things out before they were revealed. It's kind of rare for me these days, so I'm so happy when it happens! I love guessing and second-guessing throughout a book. And I loved how all the little things and details each held a clue and some of them turned out to be really important for the story.

As I mentioned I really liked the characters. They were so fun and full of personality that I couldn't help care for all of them. Especially our heroine, Sophie. As the oldest sisters of three she isn't supposed to be the one to go out and seek her fortune, but duly stays behind in the hat shop, which she will eventually inherit. She never complains and never tries to acheive anything, because she is the oldest. However, one day the Witch of the Waste enters the shop and turns Sophie into an old lady. Now Sophie must go out to seek her fortune and try to get her normal, young shape back. With her change of body, her perception of things also changes, and now she is less afraid of things, and plunges right out on adventures. On the way she encounters the wizard Howl's moving castle and Howl himself who's rumored to steal young girls' souls and eat their hearts. But does he really?

Howl was an amazing and different character. He is the most eccentric, vain and impossible person, yet somehow turns out to be one of the most powerful wizards with a huge ego. In the beginning it's difficult to see past these very prominent traits of his, but it's slowly becomes clear that there's something different beneath all this. He somewhat reminded my of Numair from The Immortal Quartet by Tamora Pierce, which might be why I instantly liked Howl, because Numair just happens to be one of my favorite characters ever.

My only complaint about this book was the ending. I thought it was a bit rushed after all the built up, and I still had a few questions that I felt were unanswered. I will, however, be picking up the sequel in hope of a small glimpse of these characters and of course another adventure with DWJ.

Overall, a very enjoyable book that I can easily recommend if you're interested in fantasy, magic and great adventures.

☆ ☆ ☆ 

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